Author Archives: NCN Technology

How sales enablement can speed up move-ins

How sales enablement can speed up move-ins

It’s no secret that assisted living companies are facing occupancy challenges. Assisted living occupancy reached its lowest levels since 2009 in the second quarter of 2017, according to data from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care. And occupancy challenges continued through last year and into this one.

One underlying issue is that older adults are expressing a desire to receive care in their homes as they age rather than move. In a Merrill Lynch study, 85% of retirees said they would rather receive care in their own homes, compared with 10% who said they would prefer an assisted living facility. In fact, senior housing accounts for just 4 million out of 46 million potential older-adult customers. This finding underscores that the value of assisted living facilities is not being effectively communicated to seniors and their adult children, who are often the key decision-makers.

So how can we change that?

Sales enablement helps organizations address this challenge by streamlining the sales process and shortening sales cycles. It accomplishes these goals by improving buyer interactions with better, more relevant sales content and equipping sales teams with the tools they need to be more informed and productive sellers.

Let me walk you through each phase of the sales enablement process, which begins well before the sale is made — an important point to understand, as we know that almost 60% of the buying decision is made before a lead will talk to sales.

Know your audience. In the past 15 years, the personal care and/or financial assistance given to a parent by an adult child has more than tripled. Approximately one-fourth of adult children — many of whom are baby boomers — provide care for a parent. That number is expected to grow, making it essential that assisted living providers understand how to market to and engage boomers.

Boomers are interested in honest reviews to help them make informed choices. According to Google search data, clicks for senior living terms showed 27% growth from 2015 to 2016. Costs, payment options and care services drove queries of younger boomers, whereas those aged 65 or more years showed more interest in amenities, lifestyle and dining options (yes, seniors in increasing numbers are using Google and social media – see the section below).

Your unique value proposition. Your marketing messages need to demonstrate your value and build your brand by creating a narrative that will connect with and attract your target audience. Per the above, when speaking about amenities or lifestyle options, share information in the context of a story that will resonate, and from several perspectives.

For instance, although offering resident or community manager testimonials to underscore the quality of your community is good, consider using adult caregiver testimonials, too, such as: “I entrusted my mom to XYZ because they give me weekly reports on…” That kind of information resonates with the ones who often make the financial decisions about assisted living.

Delivering your message(s). People are looking for answers. It’s your job to make sure you’re delivering them using channels that boomers are most apt to receive them in. Several tools are available to increase purchaser awareness and improve engagement: targeted advertising, direct mail, public relations and, perhaps most important of all, social media. Boomers have grown up with and adapted quickly to rapidly advancing technology; they’re not afraid of technology, as too many marketers presume.

More boomers get their information from smartphones and tablets and through various social media channels. Engagement is key, which is why it is important to develop shareable content that builds your online reputation, and to develop strategically developed social media campaigns.

Also note that more seniors than you think use Facebook. According to Penn State researchers, in 2013, 27% of adults aged 65 or more years belonged to a social network such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Now, the number is 35% and increasing.

The buyer’s journey has three stages: Awareness (of a problem), consideration (of solutions) and decision (to purchase a certain product or service). Sales enablement supports each stage by combining timely, focused content (case studies, product sheets, white papers, ebooks, articles, emails) and technology for streamlining the targeting, distribution, sharing and continuous improvement of your sales messages.

One of the biggest challenges for senior living executives is demonstrating the value of an assisted living community. In today’s competitive senior living marketplace, a proactive, always-evolving sales enablement process will go a long way in differentiating your community and services while helping you achieve your core business and care goals.

Sharon Muniz is CEO and founder of NCN Technology, a full-service information technology and digital marketing consulting firm serving small to medium-sized businesses and government agencies. Her recent work has focused on helping providers of assisted living and long-term care improve their communications outreach and engagement efforts. She is located in Reston, VA.

5 Ways for Healthcare Providers to Streamline Their Communications System

5 Ways for Healthcare Providers to Streamline Their Communications System

In the healthcare industry communication and IT infrastructure lies at the heart of operational effectiveness. Alerting staff for emergencies or simply making sure that the right people are given the information they need to manage caseloads is a daily challenge. Communication disruptions or breaks in the alert chain can have disastrous consequences. A multi-spectrum communication system is essential, with multiple methods of communication to ensure that the message will get through. However, this can present a logistical nightmare for any organization to manage. A healthcare provider needs to somehow integrate this electronic hydra into a seamlessly connected alert system. While this is easier said than done, here are five steps can take an organization in the right direction.

1. Catalogue All Communication Methods

The communication tools at the disposal of modern healthcare providers have served to increase the possible lines of communication and made their management a much larger challenge. The web of email, pagers, smart phones, radios, and communication apps has given healthcare managers headaches for years. A good starting point in tightening up the alert system is to make sure that all these avenues of communications are taken into account.

2. Look For The Gaps In Communication

If there have been deficiencies in communication in the past, sometimes the best way to solve the problem is to do a virtual autopsy. With so many possible ways to reach your personnel when they are needed, what was it, exactly, that went wrong? It could be as simple as a physician being away from his phone on his personal time or a paramedic parking in a cell phone dead-zone during lunch. Sometimes finding these gaps can lead to procedural changes that act as a roadmap for future contingencies.

3. Combine Unnecessary Redundancies

Redundancy is a necessary component of any communications system. Much like any system, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Since Murphy’s Law never takes a vacation, a facility can tend to feel more secure by piling on additional back-ups to systems that have the potential for failure. However, a communications manager should evaluate how effective a redundant communication method will be to the overall communications plan. If these methods can be combined or replaced with a more effective method, take that plunge.

4. Build A Communications Hub

Whether it is an actual communication center in your facility or a virtual hub online or in the cloud, you need a place where all of your communication methods can be accessed directly. At a moment of crisis, there needs to be a place where the cooler heads can gather to resolve the problem. This centralization of communication will go a long way toward cutting down on human error in the alert process.

5. Choose An Effective Mobile Management Tool

Mobile communications, to include SMS and text messages, have become a cornerstone of the communication plan for healthcare providers. A comprehensive mobile communications tool that is customized to the particular needs of the healthcare industry, to include such unique considerations as HIPPA compliance, is essential to communications in the industry. Mobile management and targeted alerts can bring communications systems into the 21st century and provide a sleek, streamlined method of communication with every component of the healthcare facility.

5 Hot Customer Acquisition Trends for Turbocharged Digital Marketing ROI this Year

5 Hot Customer Acquisition Trends for Turbocharged Digital Marketing ROI this Year

Social marketing is changing. It’s no longer enough to build a brand presence on platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. You need to up your game significantly if you want to supercharge your customer acquisition strategy via social marketing. These platforms play a significant role in marketing but to differentiate your firm, lets take a look at some “out of the box” ideas.

Platforms and outreach strategies are changing rapidly. The adage ‘be there or be square’ most certainly applies to customer acquisition and engagement. If you’re a brand marketer who wants to win at digital marketing this year, here are five marketing formats that should be an integral part of your audience outreach strategy.


One under-the-radar trend many brand builders are missing is voice recognition. From creating your own Alexa skill to incorporating voice search into your search engine optimization strategy, voice is big and getting bigger. Jumping on the “voice as an input” bandwagon before your competitors can significantly increase your status as a thought leader within your market sector. Everyone from Amazon and Google to Microsoft and Apple is going all-in on voice interfaces. The sooner you incorporate voice into your marketing strategy, the sooner you’ll reap the rewards of increased customer engagement.

Artificial Intelligence Bots

Bots are big this year. Tools like Rebotify and BotPress make it super simple to create a bot of your own. Conversing with customers via an artificial intelligence bot helps reduce your customer service workload while offering you customer insights you might not otherwise have discovered. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to integrate bot messaging into multiple areas of your business like customer service and sales.

Ephemeral Content

Look no further than Snap’s IPO for proof that ephemeral content is hot. If you’re not using ephemeral marketing in your brand-building initiatives, you could be losing market share to your competitors. From Snapchat and DatChat to Confide and Signal, today’s brand marketers have a multitude of ephemeral content tools at their disposal. Incorporate ephemeral messaging into your customer outreach strategy if you want to reach new demographics that aren’t using traditional social networks like Twitter or Facebook.

Livestreaming Video

Livestreaming video is a must-use marketing tool. From Facebook Live to Instagram and Twitter, there are numerous live-streaming options you can consider. Simply plan your live stream, advertise your upcoming broadcast, and connect with your audience in real time. Anything from your appearance at a trade show to your newest product arrivals is fair game for live streaming.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer outreach is another hot commodity this year. Whether you use micro-influencers specific to your sector or relationship building with big names in content marketing and social media, successful marketing is all about connecting with influencers. Pay attention to the needs of your audience (not follower counts), and you can’t go wrong with influencer marketing. Trust, authenticity, and analytics are crucial to succeed in the influencer outreach game.

These five hot marketing trends should be integrated into your brand-building strategy if you want to stand out from your competitors. Basic social media and content marketing are no longer enough; you need to be willing to try new tools if you hope to increase brand awareness. How many of these marketing trends will you be trying this year?

Trust the Experts

Trust the Experts

I had the opportunity to zip line recently and realized how important it is to trust the experts. The zip line trainer was serious yet she reminded us to have fun. She new the potential danger of not staying connected the entire time we are up in the trees and was the subject matter expert in safety for the sport.

We ask new clients to trust us every day with their projects, data, business processes and we know the seriousness of having the best experts and tools to execute the desired outcomes. It takes a high level of trust knowing you have the right people helping you complete the zip line course. Similarly, you need the right development team with expert knowledge and proven methodologies to ensure your project is successful.

NCN SharePoint, Mobile and web development Subject matter experts create requirement documents with business objectives ALWAYS in mind. We architect, develop and test while using the agile methodologies to ensure client projects are safely delivered. For zip lining, the process of hooking up varied depending on the effort, such as climbing a ladder, zipping thousands of feet down into the dirt, or jumping from a Tarzan swing into a net. But the methodology was the same: always stay connected! NCN processes vary based on projects; but agile development methodologies and hand picked tools are the same; chosen to ensure the safety of each project.

We know and respect the seriousness of jumping off the platform with NCN to develop your project. This is the reason our experts and processes follow agile application development methodologies to lower risk and deliver successful projects. Let’s go!!

A Scary Topic this Halloween: Spoon vs Backhoe

A Scary Topic this Halloween: Spoon vs Backhoe

If you ask your team member to dig a large hole in a short timeframe, would you give her a spoon or a backhoe? In today’s world of technology, there are so many options to provide employees with the right tools to improve efficiency, reduce risk and be more satisfied with their work. One of my favorite solutions is automating paper processes. It is a simple idea but not implemented enough. Capturing information on a smart phone or tablet saves time, reduces duplicate entry and errors, improves reporting and saves money.

Creating forms in SharePoint, a mobile app or even a Word Press site can be an easy way to gather information electronically and push it to the right folks with workflows that streamline a process.

Sometimes that backhoe might be sitting in your office and your still giving your employee the spoon. Do an audit of the software solutions you own and you may be surprised which tools are already available for your people to be more productive. Don’t let that ditch be your company or project grave! Happy Halloween! Boo!